Kelsey Edwards has a unique upbringing as a child actor who was homeschooled by her Mormon parents. Driven by a desire to do what’s right and excel, Kelsey develops a perfectionism that goes beyond religious adherence into body image and leads to disordered eating. Kelsey is able to recover with help from her parents, only to be thrown into another family crisis as her father succumbs to an opiate addiction after chronic back pain and leaves both the Church and the family. As many children do, Kelsey feels she shares blame for the destruction of her family and re-commits to the LDS religion for strength and comfort.
When her family moves to Provo, Utah, Mormon purity culture has costs for Kelsey’s self-esteem and body image as she continues pursuing performance at high school and BYU. Kelsey’s first doubts come as she serves a mission in Birmingham Alabama and grapples with the spirituality and fulfillment members of other faiths feel. Kelsey realizes belief in “eternal families” is far from unique to Mormonism but what IS unique about the Mormon version is the dark element that it’s predicated on a God deliberately separating families first.